The daily facetime I partake of is quite lovely. A time of gentle preparation, a time of gentle focus, a time of gentle review of the past 24 hours, sensing where my Father has been present – where I have become engrossed, and a preparation to feast on The Word, to extract The Juice, to feel The Spirit …
And then He goes and spoils it all. With a rip-roaring, stand-up, knock-em-down, full-on comedy routine that leaves me helpless with laughter!
Why do I bother?
“While Jesus was speaking, a Pharisee invited him to dine with him; so he went in and took his place at the table. The Pharisee was amazed to see that he did not first wash before dinner. Then the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You fools! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? So give for alms those things that are within; and see, everything will be clean for you.”” Luke 11:37-41
>> “Wash before dinner” – the voice of my mum ringing in my ears! That sacrosanct ritual of water on grubby skin. Reluctant ticking of a box. Fulfilling the minimum requirement in order to get a plate of food. “Have you washed your hands?” with the occasional check of front and back. And the even more occasional “sniff for soap.” And the “banged to rights” rush to the bathroom after being found guilty of fibbing.
Ah … happy memories – and lots of chuckles with them!
>> “Grace and Truth” – like wot Jesus does and we try to emulate. There is the host serving lunch / dinner / tea / breakfast. There is Jesus plonking himself down with relish. Then the host’s shifty eyes. The millimetre of eyebrow raising. The silent tut-tut. No sniffing for soap needed that day!
Because we all buy-into that “it’s not what goes in which matters” stuff. So we work hard to catch the “coming out” stuff – and choke on our automatic clever / angry / hurtful / selfish (and sometimes) truthful (intended) responses.
But then Jesus … and that is what gets me … what cracks me up:
None of our pretend “Smile and Silent”. Our “diplomacy” we like to think of as grace and/or truth. No “Mr Popular 2014 contest” – none of that.
And yet … something in this response from Jesus. Something we miss too often:
Jesus was responding to a Pharisee. A teacher. A leader. One of the religious elite. A sower and reaper for God. A role model for holy relationship.
And more and more I am differentiating between speaking the truth – and me just being me. Between “grace and truth” and me simply “sticking a cork in it.” Because as a Follower of the Way am I not a role model for relationship with God (and if I am not – then what is this all about)?
And more and more there is a blurring between “me and them.” Because the more I walk with Him, the more I live in and out, within and without, over there and over here – the more I walk with Him – the more I see inside – inside where He lives …
The more I see that His “truth” is not the “truth” we love to assume is ours. Because His truth is embedded in something else. Yet we all so often confuse that with “Let’s get you saved today – I need the numbers!”
And His embedded “grace” is something we so often portray as “See this silent contorted face? That is me forgiving you. That is “grace” in action. You could do with learning that, asshole!” Because I have never seen that “contorted face” in Jesus. I see something much more honest and real – so much more than ever I imagine I am.
Because doesn’t my Lord and Father hear with clarity both my spoken and unspoken words – are not my thoughts still words – is not my heart still speaking – inside – where He lives?
And I wonder (as He chuckles quietly behind me) … if we wrote the bible today – would we have to re-label this phrase we all use: Grace and Truth? Might we not have to add another word to those two words?
And just who might Jesus be calling the “asshole” – when He speaks today with that wondrous “Grace and Truth” we so love to call our own?